Along the coast of the Big Sur area of California, as you gaze off shore into the Pacific Ocean, you may often see a line of green. This is a rich habitat made of giant kelp, a slim aquatic plant that rises from the ocean floor, and is the largest marine plant on Earth. These plants can live up to 10 years, and reach 200 feet in length. It is know that they may grow up to a foot a day. This kelp is a habitat for fish, sea urchin, invertebrates, and sea otters. This ocean plant has air bladders that help to float the plant (see photo 3), and large, long leaves. If you notice an area of the kelp, this is a good place to look for otters. Using our binoculars, we spotted otters in a number of kelp beds. Sea otters enjoy a meal of the strands of kelp, but they also use it for security while sleeping. When otters need a nap, they wrap themselves up in the kelp leaves, which will protect them from drifting out to sea as they sleep.
Fondest memory: Watching otters sleeping and diving for food in the kelp. The ocean views along Big Sur are the most stunning I have ever seen.
Favorite thing: Ever see the movie, “The Birds”? Blue jays look pretty. Out here they have black heads and a deep blue velvety body. They counteract this beauty with no fear and loud squawking yells when food is out on the table. The will swoop in, even with you standing there, and try to break open containers filled with food. We were smarter; we had a food storage tent, and opposable thumbs.
Favorite thing: As soon as we leave the coast, we are among the redwood rainforest. Looks like Endor, huh? Those are actually located about 200 miles north of here. All we need now are some of those Imperial Speedster Bikes that Storm Troopers drove, and we’d make it up in no time! But I guess have half the fun.
They were playing in the (somewhat) protected cove made from the giant rocks. They were barking once in a while, maybe letting each other know things are cool, maybe the baby just banged its head on a rock and got a booboo. I dunno. I don’t speak Otter.
Fondest memory: Amazing Sea Otter Fact: Sea otters have incredibly fast metabolisms; a 60-pound adult sea otter eats at least 15 pounds of food (25% of its body weight) each and every day. That's the same as an average teenager eating 120 hamburgers.
Favorite thing: The California, or southern, sea otter survived a close brush with extinction early in this century, but today, under the protection of the Endangered Species Act, it is expanding its range and increasing its numbers. By the 1930's, most people believed that this subspecies of sea otter had vanished, wiped out by fur traders who coveted its rich pelt. In 1938, however, a small group of otters was discovered living near the mouth of Bixby Creek along California's Big Sur coast. From those few survivors, the otter has increased its numbers to more than 2,000 today. Growth has been particularly impressive during the past decade, when otter numbers increased by nearly 50%. (www.bigsurcalifornia.org/seaotter.html)
Big Sur truly is a region of many natural wonders! Having come down from the High Sierras and the Sequoia National Park only the other day, we were used to the sheer gargantuan size of these behemoths of the tree world! It was still a pleasure to see the subtle differences between the tallest trees in the world and the largest trees in the world...
These Californian Redwoods are taller and more slender than their mountain cousins and inhabit a coastal strip from Big Sur all the way up to just beyond the Oregon border, as this is an area of high rains and an almost constantly damp atmosphere in the valleys in which the State Tree of California thrives.
Average mature trees stand from 200 to 240 feet tall and have diameters of 10 to 15 feet, and some trees have been measured at more than 360 feet. Coast Redwoods can live more than two thousand years if the conditions are favourable.
The tallest known tree was the 'Dyerville Giant' which reached 368ft (taller than the Statue of Liberty!), before being felled by a neighbouring tree falling onto it in 1991.
The best place to view these amazing trees is the Humbolt Redwood State Park situated on the Californian coast between San Francisco and Oregon.
Fondest memory: There's something about walking through groves of these trees that reminds me of the Brothers Grimm tale about 'Hansel and Gretel', and a good supply of breadcrumbs seems compulsory!
Check out www.savetheredwoods.org/r_res/rrmain.htm for further info about this wonderful species that doesn't enjoy the same protection rights as the Giant Sequoia...
Henry Miller was charmed by the wildeness of the coast. He lived in a cabin without comfort and went to buy his food with a cart he trailes himself like a mule.
He staid there from 1947 to 1962. At this date, he moved for Pacific Palisades.
Maybe some great novels have been inspired by this kind of landscape : rocks entering in the ocean, beach and a cliff covered by flowers.
enjoy the spectacular beauty of this area.....
Fondest memory: In summer, the coastal waters off Big Sur plays host to the largest mammals on earth - yes, the Blue Whale. Humpback Whales also share the same waters as they enjoy the abundant krill. And you know what? You can actually spot them from almost any look-out points.... so long as you can see the ocean!
Roadside turn-outs do sometimes offer the best viewing opportunities. So, remember to bring along your binoculars!
Favorite thing: If you’ve already read my Strawberry page, then you’ve seen the pinecones from the Giants. I saw no deadly pinecones this time. The base of this tree was probably about 70 ft below where this pic was taken.
Go to the beach and ocean.
The dilema for these birds: either evade the ocean spray or me trying to take pictures.
Post Ranch Inn Big Sur
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